We are currently raising funds for the ‘Muralswallahs’ project of Art Room Foundation, by selling copies of Frank 04, online and through our partners (mentioned below), and contributing the profits of the sale towards the above project. Frank 04 is an annual publication by Handsome Frank, an illustrators agency based in UK. More about the campaign and the publication here.
We chatted with Tom Robinson (picture: right), the co-founder of Handsome Frank, to get to know them and their work better and here is what we learned:
How do you spot illustration talent? We're constantly looking! Whether it be our favourite blogs, design websites or just trawling through Instagram. There seems to be so many talented creatives producing great work these days. We also have to be a bit secretive when answering this question because we don't want to tell everyone our magic sources.
A good illustration is?
For us it's one that will appeal to clients and brands, or what we call commercially appealing. Often an illustration we'd like to hang on the wall in our homes isn't the same as one that'll work well on a billboard or packaging. It's a very fine line but people should think about how many brand logos they could sit on top of their work and would be a good match. The more matches means the wider the appeal and (hopefully) more commissions.
Recent work of an artist(s) from your roster, which you are particularly excited about?
We get the most excited when clients take our work and use it in new and different ways. This Christmas Helen Musselwhite created the official Royal Mail Christmas stamps so we would see them on all the letters we sent and received. That's a great feeling. We have also worked on a few TV commercials recently. It's great to switch on the TV in the evening and see something you worked on.
Artist(s) not from your roster whose work you find interesting? Any Indian artists who make it to the list?
There are many illustrators who's work I really admire. Jon and I have a growing collection of illustrations hanging on our walls from people we don't officially represent. In 2016 we spoke at the Designyatra Festival in Jaipur and were really impressed by the large number of creatives who introduced themselves and their work to us. It's a great emerging creative market that we're keen to be part of.
An illustration trend that is overrated?
We see trends in illustration come and go over the years, I wouldn't say any are overrated though. Personally I feel a trend starts with a bold campaign with a creative client doing something out of the ordinary. Other brands see this and replicate the idea (I didn't say copy!) and soon enough that style becomes widespread and the trend begins. As long as no one is blatantly copying other peoples ideas I don't see any harm in creative styles/trends coming and going over time - whether that be lead by colour, technique or concept.
Apart from illustrations and designs what other creative field(s) interests you?
I myself love photography and also work as a travel photographer. One of my favourite trips was capturing the amazing sights and sounds of the Uttarayan Kite Festival in Gujarat. You can see those photos here. Jon [HF co-founder] also brews craft-beer, which is called Old Friends Brewery. It's a very visual and creative beer brand - tastes good too.
Many of your artists work with different magazines and both of you have had some connection with magazines in your previous jobs. So do you have any favorite titles?
Yes I'm a real sucker for a magazine, especially at the airport. My favourites being classics like National Geographic and Time. I have a really bad habit though of looking through a magazine, admiring all the photographs but then never actually reading the articles.